Great Britain at the Paralympics

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has participated (under the name "Great Britain") in every summer and winter Paralympic Games.

Great Britain at the
NPCBritish Paralympic Association
Ranked 2nd
Summer appearances
Winter appearances

While the Olympic Games find their origin in Greece, Britain, and specifically the Stoke Mandeville Hospital is recognised as the spiritual home of the Paralympic Games. The first Paralympic Games, held in Rome in 1960, were devised as a direct result of the Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Games, devised by Dr Ludwig Guttmann for soldiers with spinal cord injuries, and this legacy is commemorated before each Paralympic Games since 2012 with the lighting of a 'legacy flame' at Stoke Mandeville as part of the Paralympic torch event.[1]

Britain has performed particularly well at the Summer Paralympic Games, consistently finishing between second and fifth on the medal tables - a slightly better performance than at the Olympics. Britain has won one gold medal at the Winter Paralympics and 626 at the Summer Games. Britain is second on the all-time Paralympic Games medal table.

Britain was the co-host of the 1984 Summer Paralympics in Stoke Mandeville, and the host of the 2012 Summer Paralympics, in London.

Although the country uses the name "Great Britain", athletes from Northern Ireland are entitled to compete as part of British delegations. Representatives of the devolved Northern Ireland government, however, have objected to the name, which they argue creates a perception that Northern Ireland is not part of the British Olympic team, and have called for the team to be renamed as Team UK.[2][3]

Under the terms of a long-standing settlement between the British Olympic Association and the Olympic Council of Ireland, athletes from Northern Ireland can elect to represent Ireland at the Olympics, as Northern Irish people are legally entitled to dual citizenship.[4]

Britain's most successful Paralympian is swimmer Mike Kenny who won 16 individual gold medals, as well as two relay silvers, in four Games.[5] Although Great Britain has competed in every Games, the British Paralympic Committee was only founded in 1989, after Kenny's retirement. Media in Britain consistently refer to the most decorated Paralympic athletes from that year, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Dave Roberts and Sarah Storey as Britain's "greatest Paralympians", occasionally with the phrase "of the modern era", attached.[6] The International Paralympic Committee, however, recognise all of Kenny's eighteen medals as Paralympic medals.[7]

Britain's first Paralympic gold was earned at the 1960 Rome Games by Margaret Maughan. Her feat was recognised when Maughan was chosen to light the Paralympic Flame during the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Paralympics.[8]

Britain's first Winter Paralympic gold was earned at the Sochi 2014 Games by Kelly Gallagher and guide Charlotte Evans in the Women's Super-G Visually impaired.

Jade Etherington and guide Caroline Powell are the first and only Britons to win four medals at a single Winter Paralympics.[9] After winning a silver medal in the Super-G, visually impaired event on 14 March 2014, Etherington became Great Britain's most successful female Winter Paralympian.[10]

Hosted Games

In 2012, Great Britain became the second nation, the other being the United States, to host the Summer Paralympic Games twice.

GamesHost cityDatesNationsParticipantsEvents
1984 Summer ParalympicsStoke Mandeville22 July – 1 August411100603
2012 Summer ParalympicsLondon29 August – 9 September1644302503

Medal tables

*Red border colour indicates tournament was held on home soil.

(Last updated: 19 March 2018)

Multi medallists

Athletes in bold are still active

Summer Paralympics

Summer Paralympic multi medallists

Athletes who have won more than three gold medals or five medals.

No. Athlete Sport(s) Years Gender Gold Silver Bronze Total
1Mike KennySwimming1976 – 1988M162018
2Sarah StoreySwimming
1992 – 2016F148325
3Tanni Grey-ThompsonAthletics1988 – 2000F114116
4David RobertsSwimming2000 – 2008M114116
5Lee PearsonEquestrian2000 - 2016M112114
6Isabel NewsteadAthletics
1984 - 2004F104418
7Carol BryantAthletics
Table tennis
Wheelchair fencing
1964 - 1976, 1988F102517
8Robin SurgeonerSwimming1984 - 1988M9009
9Robert MatthewsAthletics1984 - 2004M84113
10Sophie ChristiansenEquestrian2004 - 2016F81110
11James AndersonSwimming1992 - 2012M69217
12Valerie RobertsonArchery
Wheelchair fencing
1964 - 1976F64212
13Dick ThompsonAthletics
Wheelchair basketball
1960 - 1968M63615
14Darren KennyCycling2004 - 2012M63110
15David WeirAthletics2004 - 2016M62210
16Janice BurtonSwimming1984 - 1996F510520
17James MuirheadSwimming1976 - 1984M55313
18Barbara AndersonArchery
Table tennis
1960 - 1972F5207
David EllisSwimming1964 - 1972M5207
20Ellie SimmondsSwimming2008 - 2016M5128
21Anne DunhamEquestrian1996 - 2008F5117
22Colin KeayAthletics1984 - 1988M5106
23Michael WalkerAthletics1988 - 1992M5005
Hannah CockroftAthletics2012 - 2016F5005
Natasha BakerEquestrian2012 - 2016F5005
26Margaret MaughanArchery
Lawn bowls
1960 - 1980F4206
Deborah CriddleEquestrian2004 - 2012F4206
28Caroline InnesAthletics1992 - 2000F4105
29James CrispSwimming2000 - 2012M36312
30Margaret McElenySwimming1992 - 2004F35715
31Jeanette ChippingtonSwimming
1988 - 2004, 2016F34613
32Nigel CoultasAthletics1988 - 1992M3407
33Stephen PaytonAthletics1996 - 2008M3249
34Nicola TustainEquestrian2000 - 2004F3036
35Kenny ChurchillAthletics1992 - 2008M3025
36Peter HullSwimming1988 - 1992M3003
37Martin MansellSwimming1984 - 1988M2518

Multi medals at single Games

This is a list of British athletes who have won at least two gold medals in a single Games. Ordered categorically by gold medals earned, sports then year.

No. Athlete Sport Year Gender Gold Silver Bronze Total
1Dick Thompson Athletics 1960M4017
Wheelchair basketball 011
2Pauline Foulds Swimming 1960F5005
Robin Surgeoner Swimming 1984M5005
4Darren Kenny Cycling 2008M4105
5Barbara Anderson Swimming 1960F3004
Table tennis 100
Michael Walker Athletics 1988M4004
7Janice Burton Swimming 1992F3407
8James Crisp Swimming 2000M3227
9Sarah Bailey Swimming 1996F3115
10Nigel Coultas Athletics 1988M3104
Bethany Firth Swimming 2016F3104
12Stephen Payton Athletics 1996M3014
13Colin Keay Athletics 1984M3003
Peter Hull Swimming 1992M3003
15Joanne Rout Swimming 1988F2305
16Jeanette Chippington Swimming 1996F2125
17Kadeena Cox Athletics 2016F1114
Cycling 100
Ellie Simmonds Swimming 2012F2114
18Nicola Tustain Equestrian 2000F2013
19Thelma Young Swimming 1988F2024

Multi medals at a single event

This is a list of British athletes who have won at least two gold medals in a single event at the Summer Paralympics. Ordered categorically by medals earned, sports then gold medals earned.

No. Athlete Sport Event Years Games Gender Gold Silver Bronze Total
1Sascha Kindred Swimming Men's 200m ind. medley1996-20166M4105
2Tommy Taylor Table tennis Men's doubles1960-19806M4015
3Anne Dunham Equestrian Team open1996-20084F4004
4Stephen Miller Athletics Men's club throw F32/511996-20166M3126
5Kenny Churchill Athletics Men's javelin throw F361992-20044M3014
6Caroline Innes Athletics Women's 100m T361992-20003F2103
7Emma Brown Powerlifting Women's -82 kg2000-20042F2002

Most appearances

This is a list of British athletes who have competed in four or more Summer Paralympics. Active athletes are in bold. Athletes who were aged under 15 years of age and over 40 years of age are in bold.

No. Athlete Sport(s) Birth Year Games Years First/Last Age Gender Gold Silver Bronze Total
1Deanna Coates Shooting 19541984-2012 (8)30 - 58F3328
2Isabel Newstead Athletics
19551980 - 2004 (7)25 - 49F104418
James Rawson Table tennis 19651984 - 2008 (7)19 - 43M5128
Anthony Peddle Powerlifting 19711988 - 2012 (7)17 - 41M1023
5Robert Matthews Athletics 19611984 - 2004 (6)23 - 51M84113
Jane Stidever Swimming 19661984 - 2004 (6)18 - 38F55515
James Anderson Swimming 19631992 - 2012 (6)29 - 49M69217
Jody Cundy Cycling
19781996 - 2016 (6)18 - 38M70310
Stephen Miller Athletics 19801996 - 2016 (6)16 - 36M3126
10Christopher Holmes Swimming 19711988 - 2000 (4)17 - 29M95115
Stephen Brunt Athletics 19601988 - 2000 (4)18 - 40M2103

Winter Paralympics

No. Athlete Sport(s) Years Gender Gold Silver Bronze Total
1Menna Fitzpatrick
Guide: Jennifer Kehoe
Alpine Skiing2018F1214
2Kelly Gallagher
Guide: Charlotte Evans
Alpine Skiing2010-2014F1001
3Jade Etherington
Guide: Caroline Powell
Alpine Skiing2014F0314
4Denise SmithIce Sledge Speed Racing1984F0303
5Richard BurtAlpine Skiing1992-1994M0134

See also


  2. "No place for 'NI', says Olympic Team GB", Belfast Telegraph, 10 March 2011
  3. "Minister urges BOA to change 'erroneous Team GB name'". BBC News. 10 March 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
  4. "Full text of the constitution" (PDF). Department of the Taoiseach. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2005-04-15. Retrieved 2010-02-17. External link in |publisher= (help)
  5. "Mike Kenny (swimmer)". Paralympians' Club. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
  6. "Sarah Storey Britain's greatest Paralympian of the modern era". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-10-12. External link in |publisher= (help)
  7. "Meet Britain's other greatest Paralympian". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-02-17. External link in |publisher= (help)
  8. Olympic Broadcasting Service, channel IPC1, Paralympics International Feed, "2012 Summer Paralympics Opening Ceremonies", airdate 29 August 2012
  9. "Winter Paralympics: Jade Etherington and Caroline Powell claim fourth medal". The Guardian. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  10. "Etherington becomes GB's most successful female Winter paralympian". ESPN. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
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